Massimo Luciani

The novel “The Mind Thing” by Fredric Brown was published for the first time in 1961.

The Mind Thing was exiled from his world and sent to Earth. He – but it hasn’t a gender – has a physical body with a parasitic nature and seeks to understand which among Earth’s creatures is more suitable as a host. When he wants to change a host, he must kill his former one but to force a human to suicide attracts unwanted attention.

Professor Staunton works on satellite design and goes to Bartlesville just to spend a few days off in the countryside. On the way, however, a dog runs right in front of his car and for him it’s impossible to brake before hitting it. Staunton is puzzled by the dog’s behavior and this helps him think of a connection with a suicide and other strange deaths but what could be the cause?

Paleontologists Cristiano Dal Sasso and Simone Maganuco near Razanandrongobe sakalavae bones (Photo courtesy Giovanni Bindellini)

An article published in the journal “PeerJ” describes the study of fossils with an estimated age between 167 and 164 million years, dating to the Middle Jurassic, of Razanandrongobe sakalavae. It’s the oldest discovered among those belonging to the group of notosuchians, which lived until the Cretaceous period. A team led by Dr. Cristiano Dal Sasso of the Museum of Natural History in Milan studied the skull of this reptile discovering the power of its jaws and teeth comparable to those of T.rex.

Future Glitter or Tyranopolis by A.E. van Vogt

The novel “Future Glitter”, also known as “Tyranopolis”, by A.E. van Vogt was published for the first time in 1973.

The whole world is under the dominion of dictator Lilgin and after some generations the total population control is complete thanks to a sophisticated mass surveillance system. When Professor Dun Higenroth invents the Pervasive System, which allows anyone to communicate remotely without the need for tools and to watch the watchers, the regime is in danger.

Dun Higenroth knows that the regime will do everything to take the secrets of the Pervasive System from him, even by extracting them directly from his brain. The only hope for a different future is to hide those secrets so that one day they can be used to overthrow the dictatorship.

Scheme of the 3D chip (Image courtesy Stanford and MIT)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the creation of a new architecture for next-generation computers. A Stanford University and MIT team led by Max Shulaker, assistant professor at MIT, used experimental technologies such as carbon nanotubes and RRAM to create a prototype of a 3D chip that combines current computers’ CPU and RAM much faster in processing data and at the same time with a much lower power consumption.

Robert Heinlein in 1976

Robert Anson Heinlein was born on July 7, 1907 in Butler, Missouri. He was one of the greatest science fiction writers, one of the first writers to publish his works in publications more prestigious than pulp magazines, which at the time didn’t enjoy a great consideration. He was also at the center of several controversies, especially for the ideas contained in “Starship Troopers”.

He had the tendencty to develop some ideas quite to the extreme but in different novels there are different ideas so for example “Starship Troopers” was blamed for militarism or even fascism while “Stranger in a Strange Land” became a point of reference for hippies.

Sometimes Robert Heinlein preached the ideas contained in his works but when he focused on the story the results were really great. His wife Virginia founded the Heinlein Society in 1997 to take care of the author’s enormous legacy. Without him science fiction would be very different.